SPDX and Support

Esteban Rockett <mgia3940@...>

FYI all ... 

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Copenhaver, Karen" <kcopenhaver@...>
Date: April 14, 2011 6:32:19 AM PDT
To: "E. A. Rockett (rockett@...)" <rockett@...>
Subject: FW: SPDX and Support

More information to distribute to the group.  Dan is one of the original Samba team.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Shearer [mailto:dan@...]
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 7:36 AM
To: Copenhaver, Karen
Subject: SPDX and Support


Eben makes a powerful point about SPDX and solving compliance problems with embedded devices, but there is another angle. Compliance is at best a neutral and often negative point; the contribution SPDX could make to support operations is very positive.

A lot of wasted time and financial overhead on both ends of a support desk call relates to finding SPDX information, or information one logical hop away from SPDX data. So if an SPDX or collection of them can be supplied in the initial query:

1. The respondant has a good idea of what the alleged fault relates to, including having a list of known issues.

2. Much support relates to *interactions* of software rather than a piece of software in isolation. So having SPDXs for the software that is in the same environment as the software in question could be very useful. Of course SPDX says nothing about how software is configured or used, but still, it is valuable information that is often incomplete, wrong or missing in support requests.

3. It opens up the idea of another automated step in the support process, a conversation around exchanging lists of SPDX records.

4. As far as I am aware SPDX is commonly thought of as a here-and-now facility. But in the context of support requests it would be extremely helpful to know the history over time.

5. Depending (techies always say that :) the SPDX(es) could be used to create a virtual machine containing all the software at issue in the initial support request ready for the technician to use as required.
And, in the case of (4) above, multiple virtual machines to help determine when a problem may have been introduced.

Dan Shearer

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